4 Tips To Protect Your Home & Landscape this Winter

You put a lot of time and money into your home and its landscape. And as winter rolls in, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to protect both.

In my experience, there are four important things that every homeowner should be sure to check up on this fall. These four tips will preserve the exterior of your home and your landscape design.

It’s true, there are a lot of myths about home insurance. But one thing is for certain, when you don’t perform proper maintenance on your home, problems can arise. And these problems can lead to avoidable home insurance claims.

So, what are the four important tips for preparing the exterior of your home for winter? Let’s take a look!

Small country ranch home covered in snow. Snowy evergreen trees surrounding the home

Winter Landscaping Tip #1: Check Up On Your Gutters and Roof

This is crucial for any home. It’s especially important in areas with harsh winters.

You probably know that you have to keep your gutters clear for them to function properly. In the spring, a clogged gutter will simply spill over, which can lead to more water up against your home’s foundation.

In the winter, a clogged gutter is an even worse problem. As the snow melts from your roof and refreezes in the gutters, the edge of your roof can begin to accumulate ice. This is a real problem, especially when the gutters are cluttered with leaves and other debris.

Worst of all, if the gutters get heavy enough, your gutters and all the ice they are carrying can come crashing down. This can cause damage to your home’s windows, siding, or anything else which happens to be in the way. If it gets bad enough, ice-dams can cause damage or leaks in your roof.

Here are four ways to prevent ice build-up in your gutters and the edges of your roof:

  1. Clear out any leaves/debris in the fall.
  2. Keep the snow off of your roof with a roof rake.
  3. Use heated cables, to melt the ice in your gutters.
  4. Ensure your attic is properly insulated.

Don’t forget — it’s also important to check for any loose or sagging gutters in the fall. If you happen to find any loose gutters in the fall, get them fixed!

Winter Landscaping Tip #2: Clean Up the Leaves

There is a long-standing debate about whether it’s better to keep the leaves where they fall, or to remove them from the lawn. Here’s the deal — whatever you decide, it’s never a good idea to leave fallen leaves around or near the foundation of your home. Leaves against the foundation of your home can cause several different issues.

Leaves are a magnet for:

  1. Moisture
  2. Insects
  3. Rodents, which can eventually enter your home
  4. Molds and Fungus

Because leaves hold moisture, they can cause rot along your foundation. This problem gets even worse as the wet leaves are a perfect breeding ground for mold and fungus. This can quickly lead to the spread of mold into your home.

Sure, you can compost fall leaves. However, unless you want to look into mold coverage for home insurance, be sure to remove any leaves against your house in the fall. One year of leaves against your home may not make a huge difference. But given a few years, leaves against your foundation can cause many issues.

Winter Landscaping Tip #3: Deer-Proof Your Landscape

deer with antlers surrounded by ferns

Since the history of lawns began, deer and other critters have been a problem that homeowners have had to deal with. Unfortunately, when it comes to your lawn and landscape, there is not much coverage that comes from your homeowners insurance policy. That is why it’s important to protect your landscape.

In the winter, one of the biggest problems your landscape will encounter, besides the cold itself, is hungry animals — deer in particular.

Most people don’t know this, but hungry deer will even eat plants marketed as “deer-proof”. One of the most susceptible “deer-proof” plants in the winter is arborvitae, which is in nearly every lawn in northern states. So how do you prevent those hungry deer from munching on your garden?

There are two ways.

Solution 1 – Deer Fencing

Deer fencing is often not the prettiest solution. But, wrapping your gardens and bushes in deer fencing is one of the best ways to keep deer from munching on them. Plastic and metal fencing are the cheapest options. However, burlap has the added benefit of protecting your plants from the wind too, which can wilt your plants when it gets cold out.

Solution 2 – Liquid Deer Solution

Liquid deer solution is a great alternative to fencing. It works by making the plants smell unappetizing to deer. Though some brands vary, it is typically made of a base of rotten eggs. Yes, it stinks for a day or two, but it is not quite the eyesore that the fencing options tend to be. You will have to apply a liquid deer solution several times throughout the winter, but it is easy to apply. Best of all, it’s cheaper than deer fencing.

Winter Landscaping Tip #4: Look for Dead Trees and Branches

This one really applies year-round. However, due to the extreme weather of winter, it is a particularly good idea to remove any dead branches or trees in the fall.

Any dead trees or branches that may be hanging over your home should be removed to avoid damage during extreme winter weather.

The freezing temperatures and ice build-up will make dead trees and branches more likely to come down. To avoid any damage to your home, it is a good idea to remove any trees or limbs that may cause damage in the wintertime.

Best of all, if you have a wood stove or fireplace you can use the wood to heat your home!


pictures of modern cottage surrounded by snow, trees and mountains

The Bottom Line On Protecting Your Home This Winter

For many, winter is the time of year that requires the most preparation, especially if you want to protect your home from unwanted insurance claims. With all of the preparations required to protect your home as winter rolls in, it’s easy to overlook the outdoor tasks required to protect your home from avoidable damage.

Maintaining the outside landscape of your home is as important as maintaining the inside, especially as winter comes near! Use these four tips to help keep your home insurance rates in check, and to avoid preventable damage to your home this winter.


Author Bio: Douglas Dedrick is a landscaper with over a decade of experience who writes on several topics including lawn care, landscaping, and law. Connect with him or read more at Healing Law.